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Eye On Olympia

Ethics board: technical violation by Rep. Short, but “inadvertent, minor” and fixed…

The state legislative ethics board has dismissed an ethics complaint against freshman Rep. Shelly Short, saying that Short was wrong to post her legislative contact information on a campaign website, but that the matter is minor and was immediately corrected.

Short’s 2008 campaign website allowed visitors to send her emails. She was elected in November, and took office in early January. But people continued to send her emails through the campaign website until earlier this year.

State law bans the use of contact information on campaign websites. That’s because lawmakers cannot use public resources (like a state-paid email account) for campaigning. But lawmakers, to allow people to contact them, are allowed to provide a single link from their campaign website to their official legislative website.

In this case, board chairman David Draper said, there’s reasonable cause to believe that Short violated the no-emails rule.

“However, the violation was inadvertent, minor, and has been cured,” he wrote. “After consideration of all the circumstances, any further proceedings would not serve the purposes of the Ethics Act.”

The board dismissed the complaint.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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